Agile Industrial Complex

A reference to the “military industrial complex” that describes the symbiotic relationship between a nation’s military and the defense industry that supplies it, the Agile Industrial Complex is an expression that refers to the unhealthy relationship of consultancies, credentialing bodies and framework and tools vendors, characterized by the coercive imposing of agile practices and processes on teams and by other behaviors that run counter to agile precepts. The Agile Industrial Complex is one of the three challenges of “faux agile,” according to Martin Fowler (the others being raising the importance of technical excellence and organizing our teams around products rather than projects).

Daniel Mezick describes it this way:

It is that web of Agile institutions, Agile thought leaders and Agile consulting firms that implicitly collude to make normal the very harmful and disrespectful imposition of Agile practices on teams without consent. The Agile space is now a “no-innovation zone.” It tolerates and in fact perpetuates a highly weaponized version of Agile. Coercion, command-and-control, force, and the routine mandating of specific practices are how this game is played. The Agile Industrial Complex perpetuates and then monetizes a culture of coercion and force. The result is a worldwide pandemic of highly prescriptive, enterprise-wide Agile “trance formations.”

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